Road Blog: Friday September 22, 2023 - Marion, IL
September 22, 2023
We had a nice morning with JD and Rosie in Bloomington before hitting the road south for Marion. One of their neighbors was walking by decked out in IU garb and asked me if I was a musician, noticing the guitars I was loading into the van. We got to talking about Ted Nugent and Kid Rock and how he’d been hunting on Ted’s property and seen the Wiplash Bash in Detroit with Ted and Sammy Hagar a couple decades back. I gave him a CD and Rosie said I officially know her neighbors better than she does.
We took a little side detour into Champaign where Jacob checked out Jane Addams Book Shop and Gabriel and I check out Exile on Main Street records . Exile is a cool store, a couple blocks over from where it was when I was last there. I got to see the New The Replacements box set (due to arrive at the house this weekend) and the new Lydia Loveless album (which I’ve got on hold at Culture Shock - Clothing and Records in Rockford). I had a good chat with the owner Jeff about Titanic Love Affair , Gram Parsons, and Cheap Trick. They’ve got a killer Cheap Tick – Next Position Please display and copy of our Candy Coated Cannonball LP that you can pick up in advance of our show there next month!
From there we headed south 3 hours to Marion, a small town about two hours southeast of Saint Louis. We jammed The Police, Tilt, Dickie (suggestion from our pal Daryl). We checked into our hotel and I got a little nappy nap in, much needed after the limited sleep I’d had in Bloomington. There are limited food options in Marion, and my protests around the Taco John's’s ban fell on deaf ears. We settled on some mediocre-at-best Mexican food and headed over to the venue.
John Brown's on the Square sits just off the main city center of downtown Marion. It’s a long room with bar running along one side and a stage in the back. John is a great guy who’s always got a smile and some amazing rock and roll energy. Our pal Boyd and his wife Karen were there and it’s always great to see them. We had some time to talk music and life and these connections are really what it’s all about. John got us all dialed in, taking a little extra work to reign in the guitar volume, and we went on around 9pm.
There’s a built in crowd at JB’s and it fluctuates as the night goes on. There are lulls and rushes. As the night went on it filled up a bit and we had a pretty good crew dancing and hollering. We front loaded Boyd and Karen’s requests, including soundchecking with “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, a song we recorded and released for Sweet Cheetah Publicity and The Ledge, benefiting the Hater Kitty Army. There was no shortage of shots to the stage, and I whipped a pick at Jake when he shot me a dirty look after he messed up a part, a few minutes before he had some bass issues. (All in good fun).
We wrapped up at midnight and John gave an emotional (and slightly tipsy) talk to the crowd about their pending 17 year anniversary of owning the bar, and how much he loves bringing live, original, independent rock and roll to southern Illinois. The guy is the real deal, and we’re lucky to know him and play there. We sold some merch, loaded out, tipped the bartenders, and headed back to the hotel. It was my turn to drive at the end of the night so I’d behaved myself, and we crashed out to some South Park around 2am CST.
We have a long drive today and a couple stops to make in Rockford, Illinois – the home of Cheap Trick – before our show at Marys Place tonight. Time for a quick lobby waffle and powdered scrambled eggs from a bag and we’re off. THANKS to John and the staff at John Brown’s on the Square for another great night! See ya in Rockford! xx